Saturday, April 18, 2015

Early in the Season

Looking West towards Vancouver Island
We have been very fortunate thus far with beautiful weather so early in the boating season.  We had great visibility for the three-hour cruise from Lund to Campbell River on Vancouver Island.  We could see across the Strait of Georgia and clearly identify the snow covered mountains to the west and the impressive snow covered peaks we left behind in the east on mainland British Columbia.  
Looking East towards Mainland B.C.
The seas were calm and we could see spray from a couple of whales in the area.  About this time we decided to stop and recalibrate the boat’s electronic compass.  We had noticed that there was a discrepancy between the “projected course over ground” and the heading shown on the Raymarine.  We made two slow turns with the boat so the electronic compass inside the Raymarine can view all the headings and determine the degree of error.  This seems to help calibrate or correct the discrepancy.  After a few minutes time, we were on our way again and I started making calls for reservations in Campbell River which proved to be a bit bizzare.  
Approaching Campbell River
I called the Discovery Harbour Marina operated by the Tribes and received a recorded Christmas greeting, stating they would open again in January 2015.  The recording said to press 2 for moorage; after doing so the response said the number is not valid.  I then called the Coast Marina and received no answer; “perhaps everyone is at lunch” we thought.  We decided to head into Discovery Marina and tie-up, hoping to find someone who could check us in.  I found a lady at one of the shops located on the dock and she told me the marina was not yet open for the season but kindly gave me the code to the gate, laundry room, and showers.  
Approaching Campbell River
We settled in and I headed up to the showers with towel and supplies in-hand only to discover that the coin box for all the showers had been removed for the off season, exposing the wires and leaving the showers unusable.  Additionally, I found that the water to the docks had been turned off as well.  We called the Coast Marina again, this time using a cell phone number we had been given last season for Dave, the Harbormaster; yippee, they had space and he took our reservation over the phone with a credit card and gave us all the necessary access codes.  We headed next door to this smaller marina, tied-up, and settled in once again.  Oh joy, I can finally get my shower and no coins necessary.  
Refurbished Classic Yacht
The best thing about Campbell River is all the interesting people you meet and the intriguing boats and activity at the docks.  At Discovery Marina we were next to a beautifully restored classic yacht used for tours and special events; at Coast Marina we saw several tug boats loading supplies, getting ready to head out.  
Tugs Getting Ready to Leave 
Near our assigned slip was a special pen holding alevins (baby salmon) operated as part of the Ocean Transition & Release Project funded by Fisheries & Oceans Canada.  Wow, we didn’t know our moorage came with dinner!  It would certainly take a lot of these little buggers to make a meal. 
As it turned out these little guys were receiving their dinner, a hand full of food pellets scattered over their pen by a volunteer.  We’ll save these fry’s for later and go to the ever popular Dick’s Fish n’ Chips instead, located in a houseboat dockside.

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